Sunday, February 25, 2007

Where to begin?

I'm trying to figure out how the script should begin. In many ways, I think it would be better to begin by introducing the setting and the characters, and then gradually bringing in the horror elements. However, the old slasher movie convention of opening with a shocking scene might serve as a way of buying time. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for example, begins with such a creepy intro that it makes the rest of the first act seem a lot more tense and unnerving than it really is.

On the other hand, it might be better to start out the script relatively calmly and slowly draw the horror out of the context. Most of my ideas for an opening set piece are somewhat unrelated to the story. What I think I will do is write a shocking opening scene and see how it works when the whole thing is completed. I have some ideas for that.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Attempt at Writing a Scene

(Ideally, this scene would come about 20 minutes into the movie. I know that the film takes place in a small working-class town, which is seemingly under siege. I want the script to be about the experience of public hysteria to a certain extent.)

EXT. Street Dusk.
James is standing on the end of the sidewalk smoking a cigarette nervously. This is an average suburban street, however the effect is eerie because all of the houses are dark and there are no cars on the street. Marie is also out and she walks up to him.

Hey there. What are you doing out on a night like this?

Adjusting to this strange new world I guess.

It’s a bit like London during the blitz, isn’t it?

They all have their lights off. Like we’re under invasion.

Well, aren’t we?

But by what? And what good is hiding in the dark supposed to do?

It’s a coping mechanism. You’re the therapist, aren’t you?

I’d never encourage my patients to live like this. How long can they do this?

I guess for the rest of their lives, if necessary. You’d be surprised at how quickly huddling in the dark starts to seem normal.

Various shots: an empty strip mall parking lot, mannequins in darkened shop windows, a pub with a sign on the door reading “Closed until further notice”, trash blowing across an empty street, the factory smokestack still burning brightly, a stray cat running through an alleyway.


This is where I hope to chart my progress writing a film script for a horror movie.